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WAV and MP3 simultaneously and LAME Settings
post Feb 4 2013, 21:25
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I am archiving my collection of over 1,000 CDs. Itís a big job, and I want to get it right so I donít have to repeat it. I already started to rip CDs using iTunes and Roxio, but I noticed quite a few songs had pops, crackles, and/or distortion. At first I thought it was a problem with my CD reader, and I went out and purchased a lens cleaning disc. When that didnít solve the problem, I did more research online and realized the problem might be with the programs I was using. That is how I cam across EAC, which I really love but find a tad confusing. So, I have a few questions.

My goal is to back-up every CD in two formats: 1) WAV files to store on an external hard drive as a true archive, and 2) MP3 files to use for iTunes and portable MP3 players. Here are my questions:

1. Is it possible to save in both MP3 and WAV files while only reading the disc once? At this point, I am reading it once for the WAV files and a second time for the MP3 files. I tried just reading it once and saving as WAV files and then converting to MP3s; however, when I did that, none of the info regarding artist, track number, etc. were saved and I had to manually edit the info for use in ITunes and other players. I already have two profiles save in EAC Ė one for WAV and one for MP3. In each case, I have file naming set to save the files in folders under the artist name, with a subfolder for the artist name.

2. Regarding compression settings, I am using the latest version of LAME (I think it is 3.99.5). I would be happy with VBR and a minimum bit rate of 256 kbps, but I found it simpler to just go with 320 kbps CBR. I am not too worried about the difference in file size. I am not sure if I have the correct settings or if I could reduce the number of additional commands. Here are the additional command-line options I have entered for External Compression:

-b 320 %islow%-V 5%islow%%ishigh%-V 2%ishigh% --vbr-new %source% %dest%

And here is a screenshot of my External Compression tab:

3. Does anybody know the easier way to import the ripped MP3 tracks to iTunes? At this point, I am ripping straight to the iTunes folder, with a folder for artist and subfolder for album. After the files are ripped, I go into iTunes and add the folder to the library.

4. In terms of playback, is one player better than another? Specifically, is one player better than iTunes for playback? I also have used WinAmp. For my home stereo, I can simply play the WAV files stored on my external hard drive, but I use an iPod for traveling and the car.

Sorry for all the questions on my first post. If it would be better, I can break them down to separate posts. I am most concerned only with Questions 1 and 2 above.
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Aleron Ives
post Feb 5 2013, 07:06
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VBR settings target a specific quality level; specifying a bitrate targets a specific filesize, and these are essentially opposite goals. There is no such thing as 256 VBR: although many genres of music might end up within a certain bitrate range with a certain VBR quality setting, other genres and specific songs can be above or below that bitrate.

If you want the maximum VBR quality, use:

-V 0 %source% %dest%

What Mach-X was trying to tell you is that the highest VBR setting is often overkill, i.e. your files will be bigger than they need to be to still sound exactly the same as the original CD audio would. The LAME developers recommend using V 2 to get smaller files that still contain no audible artifacts, but some listeners can even use lower quality settings than that and still be satisfied with the sound quality. The only way for you to know authoritatively which quality level best suits your needs is to conduct some ABX tests on your music to determine the lowest VBR setting that still sounds transparent to you.

Transparency at the lowest bitrate possible is the desired outcome of using a lossy codec like MP3: if a file encoded at V2 sounds the same as the original CD and a file encoded at V 0 also sounds the same as the original CD when you compare those files in a double-blind test, the only difference between the V 2 file and the V 0 file is that the V 0 file is bigger. As such, there is no reason to waste the extra space for no discernable increase in sound quality, and you should use V 2 instead of V 0. You can go ahead and use V 0 without doing any tests if you want, but just be aware that your music may be taking up more space than necessary that way.
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Posts in this topic
- dms802   WAV and MP3 simultaneously and LAME Settings   Feb 4 2013, 21:25
- - pdq   The biggest mistake that I can see that you are ma...   Feb 4 2013, 21:54
|- - dms802   QUOTE (pdq @ Feb 4 2013, 15:54) The bigge...   Feb 4 2013, 22:02
- - Nessuno   Out of curiosity: did the pops, clicks, distortion...   Feb 4 2013, 22:54
|- - dms802   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Feb 4 2013, 16:54) Out o...   Feb 5 2013, 00:51
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (dms802 @ Feb 5 2013, 00:51) QUOTE ...   Feb 6 2013, 08:58
|- - dms802   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Feb 6 2013, 02:58) QUOTE...   Feb 7 2013, 18:54
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (dms802 @ Feb 7 2013, 17:54) I had ...   Feb 7 2013, 19:09
- - dms802   So, it sounds like the issue of ripping the disc o...   Feb 5 2013, 04:32
- - Mach-X   Those settings are rather needlessly complex. the ...   Feb 5 2013, 04:46
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Mach-X @ Feb 5 2013, 03:46) A...   Feb 7 2013, 19:07
- - db1989   Good catch on --vbr-new being unnecessary, althoug...   Feb 5 2013, 04:51
- - dms802   I had a feeling that the additional commands were ...   Feb 5 2013, 05:03
|- - db1989   QUOTE (dms802 @ Feb 5 2013, 04:03) I had ...   Feb 5 2013, 12:45
- - Aleron Ives   VBR settings target a specific quality level; spec...   Feb 5 2013, 07:06
- - phofman   And then there is the wonderful mp3fs filesystem i...   Feb 5 2013, 16:34
- - dms802   Thanks guys. I did try to figure out what all the...   Feb 5 2013, 19:52
- - pdq   That IS the case in LAME, but its use is generally...   Feb 5 2013, 20:01
- - Aleron Ives   Yes, you can use the -b switch to specify a minimu...   Feb 5 2013, 20:03
- - Mach-X   Perhaps to put in simpler terms what others are sa...   Feb 6 2013, 09:45

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